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Is there no way? There is a similar question here from 2015 with no answer.

Our kitchen was tiled with thin, copper-colored aluminum tiles (probably in the '80s), which look like this:

"Copper" Tiles

The adhesive is brown, brittle, somewhat flexible, and could be acrylic or latex but I am unsure. It has a rather acrid "organic chemical" smell similar to plumbing putty:

Backsplash

Close-up

I haven't tried a heat-gun yet but am thinking this may be the way to go. But before I do, are there any concerns? Any chance asbestos could be involved?

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The amount of time and labor involved in removing adhesive would be extensive. Even if you get the adhesive off, you will likely damage the surface of the underlying drywall.

It may be much more efficient and effective to remove the drywall and replace with new.

Use of a heat gun is questionable. Heat could crack the nearby marble if held near it too long. It also can char the surface of the existing drywall, making it less stable for the next finish.

Asbestos is unlikely in a project done in the 80s. However, if the house is older, there could be asbestos covered pipes behind the wall surface from before the old reno. If you open the wall to replace the drywall, just be careful not to disturb any coverings on pipes.

  • I think in this application, since there will be an additional surface, this would be about a 20 minute application in drywall, and very inexpensive. Great advice. – BrownRedHawk Sep 12 '16 at 14:42
  • I agree that scraping looked impossible. However with the addition of some heat, elbow-grease, and a sharp putty knife, the adhesive is proving to be removable as seen here and is not damaging the paper too much. Slow process and takes some finesse, but most of it is coming off with little drywall damage. I think the kitchen is plaster lath, so I'd prefer to not mess with that if at all possible. Only got half scraped yesterday, hopeful that the rest can be cleaned without replacing the drywall. Whole thing will need leveled out but should turn out fine. – rdtsc Sep 12 '16 at 19:35
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    An alternative is to knock off the high spots and put 1/4 inch drywall over the existing wall and glue. You need out move out the electrical boxes or use plaster rings. With scraping, leveling for finish can be a challenge, depending on what the final finish material will be. – bib Sep 12 '16 at 21:26

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